Recent times have seen a considerable discourse around whether India should announce a net-zero target, and by when. In this op ed, published in The Hindu on 21 Apr, 2021, we state that India’s best approach would be to adopt a sector-led strategy and undertake ambitious, concrete steps in those sectors. We illustrate this by giving some examples from the electricity sector. On the electricity supply side, the concrete steps include capping coal-based generation capacity, initiating measures for a just transition away from coal, and addressing the current challenges of the electricity distribution sector. On the electricity demand side, the suggested measures include adopting ambitious sales targets for the most efficient bracket of fans, ACs and refrigerators. In addition, India should use this opportunity to become an important player in the global clean energy supply chain.
Adopting such concrete and credible near-term measures will empower India to hold the developed world accountable to similar concrete actions rather than distant net-zero promises. Moreover, it will enable India to nimbly adapt its climate strategy and climate pledges as technologies mature and become available. This will also help India to make informed and realistic choices about pathways to eventually reach net-zero emissions.